Slow down, you move too fast

By Nancy Black

Mockingbird Lane. I love the name of that east/west thoroughfare through Dallas. Mainly because I grew up watching the television show, “The Munster’s.” They lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. But also, because I grew up in the Park Cities, which Mockingbird Lane runs down the middle of, so I have fond memories surrounding it. 

In Highland Park, the speed limit on Mockingbird Lane is 30 mph, and if you’re going 31 mph, you are definitely going to get a ticket. Granted, the Highland Park Police Department (HPPD) has more officers per resident than probably any other police department in the country. But they also make it a daily point to monitor traffic speeds along Mockingbird Lane. There is always a big, black HPPD SUV parked on one of the sides streets, or in a resident’s driveway, just waiting for someone unfamiliar with the neighborhood to break the speed limit. And when they light you up, they LIGHT YOU UP. Their SUV’s have lights all around the exterior of the vehicles. Trust me when I say, I drive 28 mph or below whenever I’m traveling between SMU and Love Field on Mockingbird Lane.

On the other hand, drive just a few miles east on Mockingbird Lane, and it is a completely different story. You may hit a few lights between Central Expressway and Abrams Road but, after that, Mockingbird Lane becomes a NASCAR racetrack all the way to White Rock Lake.

“Knock yourself out, buddies!”

That’s what I say out loud to myself in my car as other vehicles zoom past me, ignoring the 40 mph speed limit signs, which are so clearly and — often — posted. But what I really want to scream at them is, “Slow the [insert bad word] down!”

Nine out of 10 times, by the time I reach the bridge at Buckner Blvd., I am sitting behind the same Speed Racer who just flew past me. We end up at the same light at the same time. Sometimes I get cocky and wave at the now frustrated race car driver in front of me.

Residents of the area have complained to the Dallas Police Department (DPD), the Dallas City Council and other local leaders for help, but to no avail. They’ve taken it upon themselves to erect “Slow Down” and “Drive Like Your Children Live Here” signs up and down Mockingbird Lane between Buckner Blvd. and Abrams Road. 

“A neighborhood wall has been crashed into many times in recent years,” one neighbor told me recently in a Letter to the Editor. “Just last month, three people were in a car crash and were killed.”

The resident wrote: “No significant help has come, except for an old police car parked occasionally in the center of the divided freeway with no one in it. That doesn’t fool anyone.” 

They added that the insurance company of the person who most recently crashed into the wall is now refusing to pay for the repairs to the wall.

I get the “need for speed.” Most of us have put the petal to the metal and gone faster than we should at times. Give me a gorgeous day with the sun shining, the windows down in the car and a Tom Petty song on the radio, and I’ll probably drive a little faster than I should, too. 

But seriously, something truly needs to be done about the absolute lack of preventive measures that could be taken to inhibit speeding on the East Dallas side of Mockingbird Lane. 

More stop lights along that stretch of the lane could be one solution. Another would be designated DPD cruisers whose only job would be to drive up and down Mockingbird Lane all day giving out speeding tickets. 

I know, I know. The DPD is kind of busy fighting crime and preventing fentanyl deaths. But, according to an NBC/DFW investigative report in November of 2023, the Dallas traffic death rate is in the top 10 percent in the country, and speed is the No. 1 killer on Dallas streets! 

Obviously, something needs to be done on a city level. But change can start with one individual, encouraging other individuals to make a difference. 

So, please, slow down. Keep yourself, and others (!), safe. Wherever you are going will still be there when you get there. And, by slowing down, you’ll have a better chance of getting where you’re going because you will still be alive! 

What a concept.